Editor’s Note: How to face the reality of grad life

You’re proudly standing with your cap and gown holding your diploma and feeling like the world is your oyster. Finally, after 17 years of exams, assessments and countless cups of coffee, you’re entering this unprecedented world of work and you feel like the world is your oyster.

That’s until reality sinks in, and you learn that the real world… isn’t as straightforward as you think. You take up a job that isn’t all you first thought it was cracked out to be, you still haven’t found the right job, you’re unsure of which career path to go down or you’re working until you find something open up in your chosen career field.

Adulthood is sold to you as this world to aspire to, yet in reality it’s this scary world where there is no guidebook to.

And admit it, you’ve probably ended up scrolling on Instagram spectating everyone’s seemingly perfect lives. Comparison is a trap that most of us have fallen hostages of.

Personally, I’ve earned the accolade of being an experienced graduate experiencing all kinds of scenarios that possibly almost graduate has experienced in the space of 6 months. And here is what I’ve learnt:

  1. The grass isn’t greener on the other side.
    That friend that’s plastered her seemingly perfect job over social media probably has the same worries as you. Sometimes those with graduate jobs are the same ones living for the weekend, just like the ones who are working in retail not doing what they first intended.
  2. Adulting is a lifelong sport that none of us know the rules to
    You may have a degree, but nothing can quite prepare you for the world of being an adult. Here’s a fact, absolutely none of us know what we’re doing. Yes, it may seem like that girl who was in your seminar class may have the perfect life on lock but don’t be fooled by the highlight reel she’s put up on social media. There is no right or wrong way to navigate your life in the adult world, so take it easy on yourself. As long as you’re aiming to create the happiest version of yourself everyday, that is all you need.
  3. There is beauty in uncertainty
    One of my personal favourite mantras to live by as it pretty much sums up the way I look at life. The fact that life isn’t going in the direction you hoped means there are countless possibilities of what can happen next. There is a 50% chance of things going downhill but there’s also a 50% chance of things going better than you ever imagined. Something not working out only means there is a higher chance of something that’s the perfect fit coming along. It’s like a bad relationship, once you break up, it only guarantees that there’s room for the right person to come into your life.
  4. Rejection is inevitable
    The cold brutal world of rejection looms in and serves as a rude introduction to the adult world but rest assured it happens to the best of us. And most importantly, it’s not personal.  Remember there are lots in the same boat as you, all chasing the same dream. Man’s rejection is God’s direction and guaranteed most of the world’s most successful people faced rejection at some point on their way to the top.
  5. You are your own motivation
    You can’t get anywhere if you are only your harshest critic. It’s normal to get down on yourself when things don’t go as planned, but without you being your biggest cheerleader you’re undoubtedly going to get absolutely nowhere. So tell yourself you’re bomb AF every morning in the mirror if you have to.
  6. Have something to look forward to
    So, you’re not where you thought you’d be which makes it hard to be motivated – but having something to look forward to that makes you happy whether it is a dance class or a holiday booked next month gives you something to live for. Set yourself something every week that is a mood lifter and surround yourself with positivity to keep yourself going in the meantime. The arrival time to the destination of your dreams is delayed , so you may as well enjoy the journey in the meantime.
  7. Pump the breaks a bit, and realise you just got out of university
    Whilst it may feel like you should already start buying your cats because you’re destined to be that lady with 27 cats, take a couple of deep breaths. Done? You’ve just entered adulthood which has no timescale like the academic world did. Take your time, you don’t have to rush have to have it all figured out. What is a year out of the next 70? This is the time in your life to create and define yourself, invest in yourself and figure out what fits and what doesn’t. That takes time, and it’s a journey that is needed to get to success.
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